Connor Brown murder: Hundreds attend funeral to say farewell to popular Sunderland teenager
Hundreds of mourners turned out to say an emotional goodbye to Sunderland stabbing victim Connor Brown at the much-loved teenager's funeral.
With many attending wearing red clothing, Connor's favourite colour, Sunderland Crematorium was standing room only for the packed service.
Connor, 18, died after being attacked behind The Borough pub, in Vine Place, Sunderland city centre, in the early hours of Sunday, February 24.
A horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin was taken to the crematorium from his Farringdon home, also going past the Happy House GP surgery where he worked as a receptionist.
The coffin was draped in the Sunderland AFC club badge.
Funeral celebrant Chris May told those attending: "The recent events hit you all like a steam train, rocking you to your core.
"You shouldn't be here today and you really wish you weren't.
"All we are left with is to try and make sense of it all.
"We are left to ask why such a gifted, lovely young man can be taken from us. That lovely lad with a sparkling smile and the twinkle in his eye."
Mr May spoke of how Connor's family had instilled a strong work ethic in him from an early age.
He added that Connor regularly enjoyed holidays away with his family, attending SAFC games both home and away and that he had been a hugely popular member of staff at Happy House.
"They were a team who adored him and he had the patients in the palm of his hand. He made Happy House a happy house."
He also passed on thanks from Connor's family, saying: "They want to thank everyone not only for being here today, but for the support you have given.
"The people of Sunderland came together and did what they do best."
Finishing the service, Mr May added: "The memories we have of Connor will light up the darkest of days.
"Perhaps, after today, we will always have the ability to think of Connor and when we do, remember the good times.
"When we draw upon those memories the darkness will be lit up, because his love stays with us."
Former Farringdon Community Academy pupil Connor was also a keen sportsman, boxing with Plains Farm Amateur Boxing Club, and enjoyed going to the gym and hanging out with friends.
A huge fund-raising drive has generated more than £30,000 for his devastated family, with donations from the likes of Wearside-raised Liverpool and England footballer Jordan Henderson and former Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby.
A minute's applause was held in honour of Connor, a devoted Black Cats fan, at Sunderland's recent home game against Plymouth Argyle, while a charity football game took place earlier this month involving friends and team-mates from his Sunday League side Seaburn FC.
Following the service, Connor's coffin was taken to Grangetown Cemetery.
Mourners were invited to The Scullery in Silksworth and The Dolphin in Farringdon to celebrate Connor's life.
Leighton Barrass, 20, of Hartside Square, and Ally Gordon, 19, of Polmuir Road, both Sunderland, are both charged with the offence on February 24.
Gordon faces a separate charge of possession of a bladed article.
A provisional trial date has been set for July.